Tourism is quiet, politics is loud in Antalya
The situation in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Antalya is that its tourism is quiet, but its politics is vivid and loud.
When talking about politics, the activity is only at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) front. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, amid his busy schedule, manages to visit his constituency every weekend and participates in various activities as though he is preparing for elections.
Last weekend, he visited Sümer Ezgü, who founded an art academy in Antalya after he settled in the resort town a while ago, and told him how much he liked his mother’s folk songs.
Çavuşoğlu also opened the MATSO Tourism Department at Antalya’s Akdeniz University in the Manavgat district, funded by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Local journalists wrote that this was a historic day for Manavgat.
He expressed his support to Deniz Baykal, the former leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and agreed with Baykal’s self-criticism toward his party on how it was supporting sectarianism, discrimination and especially terrorism.
Çavuşoğlu also attended a reward ceremony organized by the Antalya Journalists Association. He visited the family of a deceased party member. He generally tries not to miss any football matches in Alanya and Antalya. He manages a busy schedule.
The AKP’s staff, together with the Antalya Municipality and the city’s mayor, Menderes Türel, along with deputies representing Antalya, are working intensely, as though there will be elections in the spring.
The CHP’s provincial organization? They are nowhere to be seen. They don’t even wonder why they lost certain city council seats to the AKP. What else is left?
Çetin Osman Budak, a deputy from Antalya, filed a parliamentary question about his city, an interesting one.
“EXPO started with 180 million Turkish liras of budget, but the expenditure surpassed it and 1.7 billion liras were spent. What is the reason for this nine- or 10-fold deviation? There is a difference of 1.7 billion between income and expenses. Income is about one percent of the expenses. Isn’t this a major failure? Have the corruption claims that came up during EXPO have been investigated,” he asked.
The decline in tourism this year has reached 44 percent. The number of incoming tourists to Antalya until mid-December marked 6 million, and that is thanks to the support of the Russians. Well, 2017 does not look hopeful either.
The other day, it was the 43rd death anniversary of İsmet İnönü, one of founders of the Republic of Turkey.
A reader sent the following piece on the occasion.
It was May 13, 1959 when İsmet İnönü wrote a letter to poet Behçet Kemal Çağlar. When he was the opposition leader, in a trip to the Aegean province of Uşak, on May 1, 1959, İnönü was wounded by a stone thrown at him. After this unpleasant incident, Çağlar wrote a poem severely condemning the stone-thrower. The government of the time, in return, fired Çağlar from his job at the Istanbul Radio because of this poem. İnönü wrote this to him:
“Dear Behçet Kemal Çağlar,
Because of me, they have taken away your service at the radio. I am very saddened by this. This incident, by itself, is a proof alone that the most unethical offences are openly being protected. You have been stripped of your own private livelihood. I have not done any favor to you all my life. I am once more so sorry for the inconveniences I have caused.
My dear brother, with my deepest love,”
Çağlar, on the other hand, has written the following reply:
I have received one of the most meaningful letters of my life from you. Am I not a citizen of this country that you have founded together with [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk, am I not a member of the generation which you, alone, guided through the Second World War without even a nose bleed, what more favor could you have done to me? But, I had assumed that you would have loved and known me more. While you are sacrificing your head for a cause, I am sacrificing my salary, is that too much? Patriotism is not only in your monopoly, is it my general?
With my respect…”